Customize Treatment to Needs of Adolescent with Depression

By Rutledge, Barbara J. | Clinical Psychiatry News, February 2007 | Go to article overview

Customize Treatment to Needs of Adolescent with Depression


Rutledge, Barbara J., Clinical Psychiatry News


MENDOZA, ARGENTINA -- When it comes to adolescents with depression, psychiatrists would do well to tailor treatment to the individual needs of each patient, Dr. Harold I. Eist said at the 6th World Congress on Depressive Disorders.

Adolescence is a turbulent period with enormous biologic, psychological, and social changes, said Dr. Eist, a psychiatrist in private practice in Bethesda, Md., and a past president of the American Psychiatric Association. The brain of the adolescent is immature--"an impulsive, aggressive, thrill-seeking brain," he said. "There are simple reflective exercises that this brain has limited capacity to accomplish."

The DSM uses a categorical classification for diagnosis of depression, and Dr. Eist said he does not necessarily agree with the DSM-IV criteria. "Most clinicians add a dimensional element," he said.

For example, in a dimensional classification, symptom intensity would also be taken into consideration in making a diagnosis. Also, the DSM requirement that the symptoms continue for a 2-week period seems inappropriate for diagnosis of mood disorders in teenagers, since mood changes in this age group are normal.

"I would recommend avoiding the trap of an arbitrary time limit," Dr. …

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